Athlete Spotlights

David Proffitt

David Proffitt has taken his college education to another level.

On top of his stressful school studies, David saw a missing piece to fulfill his college experience at the University of Tennessee. Using his business sense, he started the Tennessee Running Club, which has been growing rapidly for the past 3 seasons.

When did you first get the itch to lace up a pair of shoes and run?

David Proffitt racingI started running in 2008 during 8th grade track. A lot of my friends were on the track/xc team, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

What brought you to form the Tennessee Running Club?

I trained alone during my freshman year of college and greatly missed the team aspect of running. I knew that I was not the only runner at UT who felt this way, so I decided to start the club. With some help from fellow Maryville alumni, Andrea Stedman, I began recruiting potential runners and doing the work required to start the club. During our first season, spring 2013, we had a total of 11 members, but only 7 that showed up to practice and races.

How is the team shaping up this Fall?

This fall we are posting our largest roster to date with a current total of 49 active members. This being our second full cross country season we are also traveling more than last fall. Our first race took place in Spartanburg, SC, and last weekend we raced in the Maryville College Invitational. At the end of October we will be driving to Gainesville, FL for Southeast Club Regionals and then two weeks later we will make the haul to East Lansing, MI for Nationals. It has also been nice to have such a large incoming freshman group this year. Thanks to them both our men's and women's teams have been able to be more competitive.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from joining the TN Running Club?

I think most everyone on the team would agree that the largest benefit is definitely having a team to train and compete with, as well as a solid social group to spend time with outside of practice.

What are your goals for the upcoming training cycle or season?

Unfortunately I was once again sidelined due to injury at the start of the season. My goal for the rest of the season is to be healthy in time to run regionals and nationals with the team. After that I will probably jump straight into some base training for the winter/spring season. I was in very good shape after this past summer of training, so I would like to build off of that fitness and see some benefits in the spring since I haven't been able to participate in cross like I hoped.

Name one song from your warm-up playlist:

I don't usually use music when running or warming up. I prefer to just listen to Troy Galyon sing.

Which professional runner would you like to train with for a day? Why?

Neat story actually. My choice of professional runner to train with would definitely be MATT ELLIOT. He is also currently training in Knoxville for a shot at the 2016 Olympics and I had hoped to meet him sometime during his stay in town. Earlier this week I actually ran into him on the track while our team was getting ready to practice. He stopped and talked with me for a while and asked if I wanted to grab some runs together sometime. Needless to say, after getting over the initial shock of the idea I eagerly accepted his offer. Now I have yet another reason to try to get healthy as soon as possible!

The reason Elliot would be my choice of pro runner to train with is because of his underdog story and also his general attitude. I find him so easy to relate to because of his humble running beginnings as well as his dedication to training and passion for the sport. Also now having met and talked with him, I can say first hand that he seems to be one of the most down-to-earth guys I have ever met. He was about to do a workout on the track and asked me to make sure he wouldn't be in our way. If I hadn't recognized him I don't think he would have even mentioned who he was.

Fill in the blank: I run because

I'm addicted to it and the sport has made me who I am today. I realize that sounds extremely cliché, but it's the truth.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about running?

The feeling you get after a good race or workout. Also the fact that even after accomplishing a long term goal time, the mind of a runner is always saying 'I can run faster."

Who would you say has had the biggest impact on you as a runner?

In the long run I'd probably have to say my first high school cross country/track coach, TIM CARNES. He was the first person to really push me in running and create that love of the sport. I will always be incredibly thankful to him for all the time and commitment that he put into our team.

What is one piece of information that you'd like to share with others?

I think the cool thing about running is that anyone can get into it and experience the benefits that training brings. Through TRC I've already been involved with multiple people who are brand new to the sport, and I always get a thrill seeing them really start to get into it and develop as runners. That to me is just as inspirational as watching extraordinary, experienced runners.